June 28, 2013

PSC members to hold one-day strike

Author: Darryl McGrath
Source: NYSUT Communications

Members of the Professional Staff Congress at the City University of New York's Research Foundation plan to hold a one-day strike July 1 to protest their lack of a fair contract renewal.

The private-sector office workers voted 89 percent in favor of the walkout. They have been without a contract since December 2012.

At issue is the Research Foundation's demand that newly hired employees have a lesser pay tier and reduced benefits. Current employees would receive very small pay increases, but would face a significant increase in the cost of their health insurance premium. The PSC contends that the Research Foundation is in strong fiscal health, with grants valued at $383 million in 2011. Research Foundation workers object to the establishment of what would be a two-tiered system if they agree to lesser conditions for new employees.

"Treating new hires like second-class citizens will destroy workplace morale and undermine our productivity and solidarity," said Priscila Villacis, a PSC department representative and an assistant project administrator at the Research Foundation. "We won't agree to it."

The force of the entire PSC is behind the one-day strike, said PSC President Barbara Bowen. The PSC represents more than 25,000 faculty and staff at CUNY and the CUNY Research Foundation.

"The work the Research Foundation staff does is essential to the research mission of the university, and they should be paid fairly," Bowen said. "The union won't stand for a two-tiered wage structure."